I read Boneshaker because I haven’t read much Steampunk, and this one makes a lot of ‘best of” lists. It was fun, but ultimately lacking in depth. It was also fairly lazy writing, with a focus on providing a lot of pretty window dressing without putting much effort into building a solid foundation. The author acknowledges as much in the afterword, saying that much of the book is a stretch, but “isn’t that what Steampunk is for?” So in 1863 there are lots of airships, and factories full of people wearing goggles moving pipes around, and confederate trains full of filters for gas masks. Why do all these things exist in 1863? Because - Steampunk!
This books also engages in one of my literary pet peeves, maintaining suspense by a constant game of “I’ve got a secret”, wherein the big secret is not something the characters have to work to find out but something they simply aren’t telling us, even though it’s a third person narrative in which we know their thoughts.
Despite it’s failings, the book is still fairly engaging. Seattle as a walled zombie necropolis with a mad scientist and lots of nifty (if ridiculous) gadgets makes for an entertaining read, although not a particularly weighty or well-considered one.